estuary

(redirected from estuarine)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.
Related to estuarine: estuarine circulation

estuary

(ĕs`cho͝oĕr'ē), partially enclosed coastal body of water, having an open connection with the ocean, where freshwater from inland is mixed with saltwater from the sea. One type of estuary, called a drowned river valley, can be caused by crustal subsidence or a rise in sea level. Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest estuaries of this type in the United States and was formed during the melting of the Pleistocene ice sheets (see Pleistocene epochPleistocene epoch
, 6th epoch of the Cenozoic era of geologic time (see Geologic Timescale, table). According to a classification that considered its deposits to have been formed by the biblical great flood, the epoch was originally called the Quaternary.
..... Click the link for more information.
). Fjordsfjord
or fiord
, steep-sided inlet of the sea characteristic of glaciated regions. Fjords probably resulted from the scouring by glaciers of valleys formed by any of several processes, including faulting and erosion by running water.
..... Click the link for more information.
, or drowned glacial troughs, form similar types of estuaries, particularly in Norway, Alaska, New Zealand, and other glaciated, mountainous coastal regions. Salt marshes and lagoons found behind barrier beaches, such as along the south shore of Long Island, and down faulted sections of the earth's crust, such as San Francisco Bay, are additional types of estuaries. The shape of an estuary affects the height of the tide; some estuaries (such as the Severn and the Bay of Fundy) are characterized by a wavelike tidal borebore,
inrush of water that advances upstream with a wavelike front, caused by the progress of incoming tide from a wide-mouthed bay into its narrower portion. The tidal movement tends to be retarded by friction as it reaches the shallower water and meets the river current; it
..... Click the link for more information.
. Estuaries represent one of the most sensitive and ecologically important habitats on earth. They provide sanctuary for many species of waterfowl, store nutrients for larval and juvenile marine life, and serve as breeding grounds for many desirable species of ocean fish. Since estuaries commonly provide excellent harbors, most of the large ports in the United States (New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Mobile, Galveston, Seattle, and San Francisco) are located in estuaries. However, the development of high-density population centers causes deleterious effects that can destroy the very properties of the estuary that made development of the region possible. Human impact on estuaries includes reclamation of tidal land by filling; pollution from sewage, solid waste, industrial effluent, and hot water; increased sedimentation filling the estuary; and alteration of the salinity of estuarine waters by withdrawal or increased influx of freshwater. Increasingly, federal and state governments are passing legislation to protect estuarine environments.

Estuary

 

a single-channel, funnel-shaped seaward end of a river that widens toward the sea. Estuaries form in cases where the sediment carried by the river is removed by sea currents or tidal movements and the adjacent part of the sea is very deep. In such cases no sediment is deposited at the mouth, even if the sediment load is large. The Enisei and the Thames are two of the many rivers that have estuaries.

estuary

[′es·chə ‚wer·ē]
(geography)
A semienclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea and within which sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water. Also known as branching bay; drowned river mouth; firth.

estuary

1. the widening channel of a river where it nears the sea, with a mixing of fresh water and salt (tidal) water
2. an inlet of the sea
References in periodicals archive ?
7 percent of variation in the croaker diet, several components of which varied seasonally and according to location along the estuarine gradient.
Glaciations across North America and Europe eliminated many species over a large part of their northern range (Hewitt, 2000), including coastal and estuarine species, and led to the creation of refugial populations of many northern coastal Atlantic taxa either south of the glacial margin or in nonglaciated coastal regions of the Canadian Maritimes and Iceland (Wares, 2002).
We tested the hypothesis by analyzing the distribution of each SAV species along gradients of water depth and shoreline orientation using field data collected from biannual surveys conducted from June 2005 through October 2006 at five SAV bed locations in Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), Mississippi.
There followed a transition phase consisting of a mosaic of estuarine, freshwater and mudflat areas that persisted from c.
They point out that the present study is congruent with similar studies in North Carolina and Virginia in providing reassurance that in the absence of these conditions, watermen do not appear to face significant health risks from routine occupational exposure to estuarine waters that contain Pfiesteria.
Gaskill, education coordinator for the South Slough National Estuarine Reserve, leads monthly interpretive paddle tours of the estuary.
Magre (1974) and Johnson and Welsh (1985) showed that, in finger bowls, fragments of sea lettuce are toxic to estuarine invertebrates.
To answer these questions, the scientists have been studying three dramatically different estuarine settings: the Hudson River in New York and the North River and Merrimack River (aboard R/V Tioga in July) in Massachusetts.
National Park designation gives our coastal and estuarine areas in Pembrokeshire the highest protection possible, or did do.
lilljeborgii is a typical estuarine species that maintains high populations in estuarine systems.
In some estuarine ecosystems in South Carolina, water levels fluctuate up to 2 m between high tide and low tide, says Dana Beach, executive director of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League in Charleston.